Quebec, Nov 30 (Canadian-Media): Families travelling from across the Innu territory to share their stories with commissioners on the first Quebec stop of this Canada-wide inquiry would be welcomed by the community of Mani-Utenam, near Sept-Îles, Quebec, media reports said.
During the fourth day of Quebec hearings into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), witnesses reportedly from Uashat, Nutashkuan and Ekuanitshit, Innu communities along the St. Lawrence River, would be speaking today on topics ranging from disappearances, to domestic violence to discrimination after harrowing testimony about the abuse of power and sexual assault of Innu women and girls by a once-respected Catholic priest.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, four women testified they had been victims of Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian missionary who arrived in Quebec from Belgium in the early 1950s, died in Unaman Shipu in 1992.
In response to the inquiry's commissioners missing parents and childrenIn some cases, Innu families spoke out for the first time in decades about Joveneau's influence on the government to force the people of Pakua Shipu to a new reserve 175 kilometres away in the 1960s, where the alleged sexual abuse occurred.
The family of Anne-Marie Jourdain reported to have said their mother was murdered at the end of November 1957, while she was out trapping in the woods north of Port-Cartier, about 60 kilometres southwest of Sept-Îles.
There were also reports from families from Pakua Shipu, near the Labrador border about their children did not return after being taken away for medical treatment to the nearby hospital in Blanc-Sablon in the 1970s.
According to a witness, death certificates -- for at least eight babies who were not properly buried -- were also not provided.
The above image posted on the twitter account of Julia Stewart-Page @JuliaBPage read, 'Hear the stories being shared on the 4th day of the @MMIWG inquiry live'
Next hearings -- the first to be held inside an Indigenous community -- are reportedly set for MontrealThe hearings in Mani-Utenam, 900 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
The first phase of the hearings is dedicated to hearing personal testimonies, while the second phase in 2018 will be dedicated to government institutions.
The inquiry had made stops in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Membertou, N.S., Winnipeg, Smithers, B.C., and Whitehorse.
The planned stop in Rankin Inlet in December which was postponed will be rerouted to a hotel in the community at a later date.
The inquiry has confirmed an announcement many families had been waiting for that it will hold hearings in Montreal next year.
This decision was confirmed by the Commissioner Michèle Audette prior to the opening ceremony Monday.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)